Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) Roundtable Statement

Laudato Si’ Ministries Director of Programs, Kayla S. Jacobs, speaking at the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) Roundtable with Rep. Walsh, Jr.

On October 20, 2020 Laudato Si’ Ministries of the Diocese of Joliet spoke at a virtual roundtable on the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) with Rep. Lawrence Walsh, Jr. (IL House District 86). Ms. Kayla S. Jacobs, Director of Programs for Laudato Si’ Ministries, was asked to speak at the roundtable from the faith prospective. See a full text of her statement below:

“Hello my name is Kayla Jacobs and I am the Director of Programs for Laudato Si’ Ministries of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet, which consist of 125 Catholic parishes and over 600,000 parishioners. Laudato Si’ Ministries is the environmental ministry for the diocese, under the Most Rev. Bishop Hicks. The objective of our ministry is to protect God’s creation and ensure the common good of all creatures, with a special focus on the most poor and vulnerable. 

When we, as a Church, decide policy to support we ask ourselves several questions:

-Does it benefit the common good and community?

-Does it respect life and human dignity?

-Does it protect the environment?

-Does it uphold the dignity of work?

With these questions in mind we support the Clean Energy Jobs Act because of its goals of: investing in communities, especially low-income communities, care for the environment, benefits for public health, creation of jobs, and equity.

A couple weeks ago the Catholic Bishops of Illinois, through the Catholic Conference of Illinois, collectively released a statement on their support for clean energy initiatives. In it they highlight the need to:

-Expand solar for all

-Reinvest in communities, especially low-income communities

– And creating more jobs in the Green Energy Industry

The Laudato Si’ Ministries believe’s CEJA is the most comprehensive bill that would achieve these goals in the most timely manner. Pope Francis, in his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’, which is his writings on our current ecological crisis,  wrote: “We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels…needs to be progressively replaced without delay.” CEJA’s goal of accomplishing its objectives by 2030 is what we need.

Additionally, the Joliet area, as you know, is known for our warehouses and industry. While that is nice in terms of jobs it is not so nice in terms of the amount of air pollution we endure as a community, largely due to the many medium and heavy duty vehicles that transport goods from all of the warehouses in the region. I’m always astonished by the amount of semis and amazon vans I see on my drive to our office in Crest Hill. I can smell the emissions just by being in my car near them. During this time of COVID-19 we are made even more aware of the need for good air quality for the sake of public health. The creation of a new Beneficial Electrification initiative to incentivize electric vehicle charging, focused on medium- and heavy-duty vehicles would be particularly beneficial in Joliet. 

Thank you for your time. We hope that CEJA can be passed as soon as possible and that Illinois could become national leaders in clean energy.”

If you are interested in reaching out to your elected officials regarding clean energy in Illinois contact Kayla S. Jacobs at kjacobs@dioceseofjoliet.org

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